1928 - Alderson High School - 1968


Alderson High School Band and Majorettes

History - Photos - Testimonies



A Tribute to Ossie Keadle

Foreword by Mary Morgan - Band Member & 1942 Graduate

Our first band director and originator,  was Norman P. Hazeldine. The years he served were:  '37-'38, '38-'39, '39-'40, '40-41.  Mr. Hazeldine native of Huntington and graduate of Marshall College. After a few years he resigned and during WWII went to work at International Nickell Corporation in Huntington, W. Va., until he retired.

For the first year the members wore white shirts and dark skirts or trousers. Mr. Hazeldine raised money the second year for new, made to measure uniforms. Since there was almost no money for the band. He would get samples of band music and we would hand make copies of it so that each person could have her own music to take home and practice. When there were no sample sheets for certain instruments he would "compose" a part for that instrument and then members would make copies of his work.
Mr. Hazeldine let us learn to play each other instruments if we could get the owner's permission. We each had to supply our own.  I bought my trombone for $15 from A. McNeer I believe who had played in a WWI band (?) in Alderson. I paid 5$ down, he let me have the trombone and case and then I paid the remaining debt at 50 cents per week until it was fully mine. It was the only instrument in town that I could find that I could afford. I knew nothing about trombones but I soon loved it. And then, almost immediately, I began to be asked why I had chosen a trombone because only boys were to play trombones. The kids began to tease me but some of the adults were serious and very cruel. I became embarrassed and then defensive. I began to beg my father to buy a "girl's instrument" for me. He and my older sister, teacher Elizabeth (Home Ec.), bought me a clarinet from Montgomery Ward catalog for Christmas the 2nd year of the band. I was freed of the teasing and shame of the trombone.

I tried and tried to like the clarinet but it squeaked a lot and was whiney. It was unreliable and I began to hate it. I missed my strong, booming trombone. I was also a year older and was beginning to resent being told what girls could and couldn't do. The third year I went back to my beloved trombone and stood up to anybody who tried to keep me "in my girl's place."

Mr. Hazeldine encouraged us to learn to play any instrument we could borrow for a few minutes from any other band member. I wanted to learn to play a valve instrument but I couldn't shift from the trombone mouthpiece to the trumpet mouth piece. However, I could shift to the Sousaphone mouthpiece. I really couldn't carry it, it was so large and heavy, but in its stand I learned how to play umpah, umpah, pah,pah, pah. I also learned to play ladder runs for some of the show-off tunes. Because I could read music and was having so much fun Mr. Hazeldine began to supply me a trumpet sample sheet and I would "compose " the Sousaphone umpahs to go with it. I think some of the band members actually "faked" their parts so we could play more pieces that we couldn't afford to buy the sheet music for. Sometime deprivation can lead to great learning experiences. I thought I was almost a genuine composer.

Story: Phyllis Rowe, clarinet, Mary Morgan, back to her beloved trombone, were invited to stay for the 3 day State Band Festival with Mary's older sister, Anna and husband Ed Fernsler who lived in Huntington. (Band members from all over the state were invited guests into the homes of the generous, friendly people of Huntington. Can you imagine such a trusting, generous opening of ones' home to high school students today? )

Mr. Hazeldine gave us a time and a place to gather for the afternoon stadium appearance. We had to walk about 20 blocks from my sister's home to the designated meeting place. (We didn't have the money to use public transit.) I remember it being a very long walk. As we were hurrying along 4th avenue toward Marshall College a man hailed us, identified himself as a photographer from the Herald Advertiser (?) and wanted to take our pictures as visiting band festival participants. Of course we agreed! He directed us to a store window and posed us looking through the glass towards the display. (see picture) After a couple of shots he got our names, name of our school, home town, etc. And then we really had to rush on--we were going to be late. Mr. Hazeldine scolded nearly all of us because we weren't the only ones who were late--lost, mixed up, delayed. We didn't plead any excuse almost forgetting the incident in our excitement of participating in a STATE BAND FESTIVAL.

The next morning, there in the paper was the picture of we two girls from the Alderson High School band. It was the caption under the picture that had us pleading our case to Director Hazeldine. It stated that the two band girls were window shopping and thinking of more than the band festival. We were outraged. We hadn't looked in a single store window. We had been almost running we had had to walk so far and were going to be late. Mr. Hazeldine didn't know which story to believe. That was my first experience in learning that what you see and read in a big city newspaper may or may not be true.

I am in awe, now, of what a daunting task it was for this new, young teacher to be hired to teach both a subject AND create a marching band.  No instruments, no uniforms, no music, no tradition, and almost no kids who could read music. 

"Band Class" was held on the stage.  Marching band took place on the gym floor.  Sometimes the folding chairs were up and we had to clear a path around the chairs.  Mr. Hazeldine would be teaching how to play the trumpet, then he'd switch to trombone, then he'd help the clarinets.  We all kept practicing what he had just taught. 

All those instruments at once, all of them practicing scales, all of them screeching or making obscene noises was the most awful noise I've ever heard in my life.  I don't know how Mr. H stood it.  We loved it because we were going to learn how to be in a band.

Marching was also ridiculous but not nearly as noisy.  We learned how to all start together and better still how to stop at the same time.  We learned how to do 90 degree turns and 180 turns.  You might think, "Well, of course.  Marching is what a person does in a band."  But for Alderson's very first band it was a case of every one of us learning to march and every line of us learning to stick together and every row having to remember where we were to go--we were all beginners.  No band ever has that many beginners after a band is formed in a school.

Harold "Beans" Crawford was our first drum major.  He was not especially tall but he was very stalwart and when he leaned way back with that tall, feathered log of a hat on his head and lifted his booted legs in real high steps he was commanding and inspiring.  He used a shrill whistle to give us commands and dropped a silver baton 30" long to bring us to a halt and I can assure you we did HALT.

We wore white shirts and dark skirts and pants, dark shoes (no saddles) and socks.  We worked so hard so that we could actually march on the field at half time of the football game the first year so that people could see that we were a band.  We each had a Bennett's Band Book #1 in our music holder and I think we could actually play 2 different marches.  We were so proud we nearly busted off buttons.  People cheered and that was how the money got raised for band uniforms, tailored for each one of us.

I, personally, found it very embarrassing when Mr. Core, the principal, called me in to his office where the salesman was to take my measurements for MY uniform.  I had never before been measured by a man, a stranger at that.  "My," he said," You certainly do have a big head.  Let me measure that again."  I was mortified.  Not too many school kids have received a custom made band uniform to wear and it was so much classier than the white shirt and dark skirt-- it was grand.  But I was still growing and in the second year I could barely get the metal buttons on my jacket buttoned across my chest.

Mr. Hazeldine held some little try-outs for about 4 girls, not in the band, whom he had selected.  He choose Elsie Jeanne Scruggs as the first Drum Majorette.  She was a little taller than most, had long legs that looked sharp in the white, calf-high boots, and long brown hair that hung almost to her waist.  She, too, looked impressive in a white wool circle skirt that hung just above, but on speaking terms to, her knees, a tight fitted long sleeved jacket with horizontal rows of braid marching from her high collar to her waist.  She had also inherited the tall, white, feathered, stovepipe style Major's hat.  The shrill whistle just didn't seem to suit her--she seemed to blow it just a little late--so she was switched to all hand signals using the silver baton.  To me she seemed less impressive that our first Major but she had something else--Majorette appeal and LEGS!

I am smiling and really enjoying recalling my high school band experience.
Mary M Steele Morgan, age 86, AHS '42

AHS Band Memories - Part Two

Band Photos

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